Coasters impress at Gate in pre-season opener
AFC Fylde began their pre-season campaign in style with a 4-0 victory against Squires Gate at the Brian Addison Stadium.
Goals from Owen Robinson, Emeka Obi and two trialists put smiles on the faces of AFC Fylde supporters, who finally returned to the terraces for the first time in 16 months.
The Coasters came flying out of the blocks in the first-half, with a flurry of chances coming inside the first ten minutes. Owen Robinson and Sam Osborne saw their efforts denied, before Robinson found the net on 12 minutes to open the scoring.
Fylde’s young midfielder, who put pen to paper on his first professional contract this summer, was found by new signing Nathan Shaw inside the area, where he managed to shift onto his favoured right-foot and curl past the helpless keeper and into the far corner.
The opening goal gave the visitors confidence, and it was Shaw who almost doubled their lead four minutes later, but his effort from 15-yard out struck the crossbar and bounced to safety.
Fylde continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession and carve out the better chances with Hulme going close following some more good work from Shaw.
Squires Gate recorded their first shot of the game after 35 minutes, and it was their left back who almost caught out Chris Neal with a swirling long-range free kick.
Jim Bentley made 10 changes at half time to offer the rest of the squad an opportunity to impress and it didn’t take long for them to do just that.
A trialist, who was brought on at the interval, announced himself to the game in style, doubling the visitor’s lead with a curling effort that found the top left corner from the edge of the box.
Jordan Hulme forced a smart save out of Gate’s stopper shortly after, racing onto a long ball from over the top before seeing his low drive turned away for a corner.
Emeka Obi bagged his first Coasters goal with 65 minutes played, powering an impressive header past the well-worked Gate stopper. It was a deserved goal for the defender who looked assured throughout.
Bentley’s side kept pushing for more goals as the game entered the final stages, Hulme and Tollitt both stinging the palms of the goalkeeper.
But The Coasters would round off the scoring with five minutes remaining. A trialist striker, who had entered the game from the bench, latched onto a clever Nick Haughton pass, rounded the keeper and rolled the ball calmly into an empty net.
A couple of late scares for Fylde kept the game alive, but all in all it was a dominant and convincing display for Bentley’s men, as they begin to ramp up their preparations for the new 21/22 National League North season.
Coasters First-Half XI: Neal, Burke, Byrne, Whitmore, Trialist, Perkins, Philliskirk, Osborne, Robinson, Shaw, Hulme
Coasters Second-Half XI: Jones, Trialist, Obi, Nolan, Conlan, Joyce, Gregson, Trialist, Haughton, Tollitt, Hulme
Coasters Subs: (Trialist 75’) (Jones 81’)
Squires Gate: None
Coasters: Robinson, Trialist, Obi. Trialist